Every year around this time, all the TV sets in Italy are tuned to the same channel watching the Sanremo Italian Music Festival. It's an annual competition to choose the best of current Italian pop music. Both new and established artists can enter, but they must present a brand new song that has not been performed anywhere previously.
I'm not a big fan of the festival personally, although expressing this minority opinion publicly usually gets me a lot of grief from my Italian friends. How could I not love the Festival? I guess just because I'm not a big fan of shows where famous people make fatuous fusses over other celebrities. I hate the fake smiles, the forced hilarity of these programs. And this festival goes on and on for days...it always seems to me like it's never going to end! Just change the channel, you say? I can't because my family is hooked and they want me to watch with them and comment on all the songs and personalities...an annual form of torture for me!
So, after that negative build up, do you want to know who won?
First prize went to Roberto Vecchioni, a 68 year old Renaissance man. He is not only a singer-songwriter, but also a university professor of music and poetry. He is the author of several books ranging from poetry, fables, to tales of the lives of historical figures. And he is a photographer... I like his song because it speaks of the difficult times we are living in and calls for a return to love, poetry and the more positive aspects of life.
Second prize went to a young singer who is new on the Italian music scene, Emma Marrone, accompanied by the group Modà. Emma has a more upbeat, rock and roll style which blended nicely with the pop rock sound of Modà. Their song is about the hope for a better future after a love story gone wrong.
Third place was awarded to Albano Carrisi, another 68 year old singer, born in Puglia...yeah! He sings in a classic Italian melodic style, with a big and powerful voice. His song tells the story of the short, tragic life of a young prostitute.